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Help and advice for Dress and Dress Materials for a 'Serving Maid'. circa 1600

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Dress and Dress Materials for a 'Serving Maid'. circa 1600

Ellis, Megan. Original Documents series, National Library of Wales journal, Winter 1939, Vol I/2

Extracted onto the pages of Genuki by Gareth Hicks with the kind permission of the NLW

The article comprises the introduction followed by 2 lists, one in Welsh and one in English - with an explanation of some obscure English words.



Little has been written so far regarding the clothes worn by Welsh women in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and reliable information is scarce. The Wigfair collection of manuscripts in the National Library contains one manuscript which throws some light on this subject. N.L.W. MS. 12,450 consists of lists of payments made by Ieuan ap Rees ap David of Wigfair to his serving maid 'Ellin vawr.' Many of the payments are in kind, and most of the entries relate to payments for clothes, materials, and the making up of these materials into clothes for Ellin, the said 'serving maid.' It is interesting to note that while the more complete list is in Welsh, a briefer and incomplete list in English, tallying, in so far as it goes, with the Welsh list, is also included. From the note at the beginning of the English list it would appear that both were compiled, or, as is more probably the case, copied, from an older original, as the result of an impending lawsuit in which Ieuan ap Rees ap David was the defendant and George Gryff' ap d'd ap m'dd and 'Ellin' his wife were the plaintiffs. It appears therefore that these lists were copied after Ellin's departure from Wigfair and after her marriage to George Gryff' ap d'd ap m'dd.

Ieuan ap Rees ap David of Wigfair, a member of the well-known Lloyd family of that place, and father of John Lloyd of Wigfair, burgess and recorder of Denbigh ( ob. 1618), is said to have died in 1610 (see The History ... of Powys Fadog... by J. Y. W. Lloyd, Vol. V, p. 303), although the year of his death is given as 1600, with the added information that he was ' an aged gent.', by D. R. Thomas in the introductory chapter to Y Cwtta Cyfarwydd ... London, 1883. 1   It is interesting to note that included in the Wigfair collection of manuscripts is a letter (N.L.W. MS. 12,401) in the autograph of the well-known Welsh poet Sion Tudur ( ob. 1602) addressed to 'vy anwyl gar a chyfaill Ieuan ap Rys ap Davydd' (see Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, Vol. VII, pp. 112-117). In the same collection there are also several deeds, dated circa 1577, in which Ieuan ap Rees ap David appears as a party to the transfer of land or in financial transactions. In these deeds he is designated 'gentleman.'

1. The manuscript of The Register Note-Book of Thomas Rowlands ... which D. R. Thomas published as an Appendix to Y Cwtta Cyfarwydd is among the Wigfair MSS. in the National Library (N.L.W. MS. 12,447).

The approximate date of the death of Ieuan ap Rees ap David being known, it is safe to assume that the lists relate to a time preceding that date, although it has to be borne in mind that the Welsh list appears to have been copied by his son, as it is endorsed 'Payments made to Elin my fathers mayd.'

Taking into consideration the number and variety of the clothes supplied to 'Ellin Vawr' by Ieuan ap Rees ap David, and the fact that they were intended for a serving maid, it would appear that the payments covered a number of years. Ieuan appears to have been a generous employer, as several of the items are described as having been made of his own cloth, and for these no charge was made.

It is interesting also to find the prices of the various articles of clothing mentioned, as well as the sums paid to the tailor, the fuller, and the dyer. While gloves were to be obtained for threepence a pair, and shoes at prices ranging from sixteen pence to two shillings a pair, a felt hat bought at Chester cost eight shillings, whilst another felt hat cost ten shillings.

Linen or linen cloth was widely used for smocks, aprons, and partlets, while jerkins and petticoats appear to have been made usually of cloth or flannel. Stockings were made of wool or of  'kersie,' some of the kersie being home-made and some of it being obtained  'o'r dre.'

In addition to such utilitarian articles of wear as smocks, petticoats, and aprons, Ellin was also supplied with linen and strings for her ruffs, fringe for her petticoats, a silk girdle for which eighteen pence was the amount paid to Richard the 'pedler,' and a fillet for her hair.

The respective Welsh and English lists are printed below.


Taledigaethe i Ellin vawr of chyflog gen Ieu'n ap Rees ap david sydd yn Calyn.

  • Kynta peth a gafodd pen oedd hi y glaf yr amser kynta i daeth hi attaf fo yw Rhoi at i chwaer Siann y brynnv pethe ag oedd yn Rhaid iddi hi .     vjd.
  • I dalu am llivo gwlan iddi hi     iiijs.
  • #Am wlan iddi hi
  • Am skidie iddi hi         ijs.
  • Arrian a royese Agnes vch Ieu'n i nechwyn iddi hi ag a delais i trosti hi .         iiijd.
  • Am liain main iddi hi             iijs.
  • #llathen o gersi gwyn or eiddo i fy hvn   
  • Am llifo y kersi ymma yn bvwch          iiijd .
  • Am wregis iddi hi           iijd.
  • Am ysane davedd iddi hi             ixd.
  • Am skidie eilwaith iddi hi          ijs.
  • Am fenig iddi hi            iijd.
  • Am gorff pais iddi hi           iiijd.
  • Am drwssio i ffais hi           ijd.
  • Am hett ffelt ynghaer iddi hi           viijs.
  • Am dair llath o liain iddi hi yn grys            iijs. vjd.
  • Am farckloth lliain iddi hi             xijd.
  • Am ddevnyth gwregis iddi hi gen Alis vch david fy merch ynghyfraith .   iijd.
  • Am farckloth o frethin dv           xvjd.
  • Am gorff pais iddi hi.              iiijd.
  • Am drwssio eilwaith i ffais hi yr Tailiwr kloff          ijd.
  • Am grys iddi hi .       ijs.
  • Am wnio y krys ag am snoden wallt .     iiijd.
  • Am lathen o liain ir pedler iddi hi .       xvjd.
  • Am skidie iddi hi               xvijd.
  • Am sane davedd iddi hi gen Sioned ach sion          xd.
  • Am liain i drwssio ychrys               iiijd.
  • Am wayv sane davedd iddi ichwaer Elnor .        iiijd.
  • Am lathen o liain i wnevthur kwrsi iddi hi              xijd.
  • Ain hanner lathen o liain i wnvethvr partlett iddi hi           xd.
  • Am hanner lathen o liain main iddi hi i wnevthur Rwff partlett iddi hi          ijs.
  • Am par o fenig gen y pedler iddi hi             iijd.
  • Am wenith gen Elizabeth vch Ieu'n             iiijs. xd.
  • Am hayidd gen forys i brawd .               ijs. vjd.
  • Am wlan i wnevthvr dwy bais o beisie iddi hi         iijs. vjd.
  • Am wnethvr y peisie hynny .             iiijd.
  • Am bar o skidie             xvjd.
  • Am frethin koch a gaed gen Sian i chwaer i wnevthvr pais iddi hi            vjs.
  • Am ffrinsg ir bais honno                xijd.
  • Am lathen o seckloth i wnevthvr korff ir bais honno .           viijd.
  • Am bedair lathen o liain iddi hi .              iijs. viijd.
  • #Am grys o gowarch tuytho om liain i fy hvn
  • #Barckloth om brethyn i fy hvn
  • #Sane davedd o waith gwraig Res ap Ieu'n ap ho'll .
  • Am hanner lathen o liain a brynnais i yn y vaynol i wnevthvr Rwff iddi hi          xd.
  • Am lathen o  liain aeth i orffen i ffartlett ag i wnevthvr dav gap iddi hi a wnaeth merch R'b't ap  Hugh lloyd.
  • Am wnevthvr y rain y vch R'b't ap Hugh Lloyd .               xijd.
  • #Dav bar o skidie a wnaethbwyd yn ty iddi hi
  • #Dav grys o gowarch Truytho om liain i fy hvn a wnaeth merch R'b't ap Hugh lloyd.
  • #Dav bar o sane brethin
  • Arrian parod a roed iddi ynghwydd Res ap Ieu'n ap Holl ar vnwaith           liijs. iiijd.
  • #Barckloth om brethin i fy hvn
  • #Svrkvn gwlanen om gwlanen i fy hvn 
  • Am wregis sidan iddi hi i Richard y pedler              xviijd.
  • Am bar o fenig iddi hi              iijd.
  • Am hanner llathen o liain iddi hi                vjd.
  • llathen o liain i wnevthvr dav gwrsi iddi hi           xvjd.
  • Par o fenig eilwaith iddi hi            iijd.
  • #Dav farckloth ar vnwaith or vn am siacked i fo hvn
  • Tair lathen a hanner i wnevthvr krys iddi hi .          iijs. vjd.
  • Par o skidie iddi hi         xviijd.
  • Par o sane kersi or dre y thi hi .         xiiijd.
  • Llathen o gersi kartref iddi hi .         ijs. iiijd.
  • Am llifo y lathen gersi honno         iiijd.
  • Am wayv par o sane dafedd iddi hi i ferch Thomas ap John gruff' .           iiijd.          dim am yr y dafedd
  • At Elin i hvn i dalv am frethin koch a ddoethe iddi oddiwrth i brawd sion vjs. ijd.
  • Am wnevthvr y brethin hwnnv yn bais iddi hi           ijd.
  • Am ffrinsg ir bais honno           xd.
  • Am dair lathen a hanner o liain iddi hi i wraig Res ap Ieu'n ap Res         iijs. vjd.
  • Am farckloth o frethin dv         xvd.
  • Am liain iw rhoi wrth partlett iddi hi .         iijd.
  • Am skidie ag snoden wallt iddi hi           xxjd.
  • Am hett felt a Brynnesid i mi fy hvn .         iijs. vjd.
  • Am liain i drwssio i ffartlett hi               iijd.
  • Am wlan i wnevthvr pais iddi hi   
  • i Sion padrick am bannu y bais honno    iiijd.
  • Am ddevnyth barckloth o frethin medlai a llinynne ir barckloth hwnnv           xixd.
  • Am llivo brethin iddi hi              xviijd.
  • #Ar brethin ymma a llifwyd oedd om brethin i fy hvn ag am hynny ni roed mor brethin nar pris yw ddangos arno
  • Am liain i wnevthvr kwrsi iddi hi             xviijd.
  • Am bar o fenig iddi hi                 iijd.
  • Am wlan i wnevthvr svrkin iddi hi                   xiiijd.
  • Am wnevthvr y svrkin ymma iddi hi a ffar o sane           ijd.
  • Am lathen o liain main iddi hi gen Richard pedler .        iijs.
  • #Barckloth or brethin ir oeddid yn gwneythvr siacked i mi fy hvn
  • #Dwv bais wen a ffais goch a dav syrkin gwlanen ar vnwaith a wnaeth Will'm Gruff' ap Sion dailiwr iddi hi erbyn y Pask
  • Am ffring ir bais goch a seclcloth ir korff        xxijd.
  • #Am wnevthvr y tair pais ar ddav svrkin gwlanen i Wm Gruff' ap Sion dailiwr llathen o liain iddi hi .       xviijd.
  • llathen o liain mayin a roed am dano yn llwdlow a brynnodd Evan lloyd i wnevthyr Rwffie iddi hi ag iminne       iijs.
  • Pymp karrai a roed yn i Rwff hi a thair yn fy Rwff ynne . .
  • Am liain iw Rhoi wrth y Rwff ymma               xijd.
  • Am i gwnio yn ty            xd.
  • Am chwarter o liain ag y snoden wallt            iiijd.
  • Am het fflett [sic] a brynnwyd iddi y nghwydd Moris Padricke i brawd ynghyffraith
  • #Am chwarter o gersi kartref
  • Am llifo y kersi ymma               ijd.
  • llathen a hanner chwarter o liain i wnevthvr Barckloth iddi hi              xvd.
  • Y dydd ir aeth hi a minne ir dref fo a Brynwyd iddi gen ffwlke Salbri dair llathen a hanner i wnevthvr krys .       ijs. xjd.
  • llathen o liain mayin       ijs.
  • Hanner llathen trachfen [sic] iddi hi .              xjd.
  • Llathen o skottis Cloth                 viijd.
  • Hanner lathen iw Rhoi wrth i ffartlett  .             viijd.
  • Hanner lather i wnevthvr kydache wyneb             xxd.
  • Am las a fring a seckloth yw ffais goch ddiwaytha a wnaeth hi ai gwnethvr         iijs. vjd.
  • #Y brethyn a wneithid yn ty om gwlayn i fy hvn ag am hynny hid oes dim pris gwedi i Rhoi ar lawr am dano
  • Par o skidie gyn Tho. Lowes
  • #Kassocke heb law hyn om brethin i fy hvn a chwbl ag aeth ar y gassog ag am i gwnevthvr
  • Hi a gafodd yn arrian parod wrth fyned i ffordd                 iiijl  xvijs.
  • A llawer o pethe eraill gida hyn ymma ni Rhoed mo honun yn skrifennig a llawer gida hynny a ollyngh[o]dd tros gof heb i Rhoi chwaith yn skrifennedig.

Endorsed :

Payments made to Elin my fathers mayd


Extractor's notes;-

  • 1. The use of the letter v as in 'gwnevthvr' etc may  be confusing, it would more usually be the letter 'u', as in 'gwneuthur'
  • 2. The key to the cost code at the end of most lines can be seen by comparing the entry 'Item for a ffealt hat for he.... viijs' with the above statement that a felt hat cost eight shillings. Likewise the entry ' Item for a paire of gloves... iijd.' being gloves at 3 pence a pair. Both the i and the j  stand for the number 1( s= shillings, d= pence.)


A true and p[er]fect note of such things as Ieu'n ap Rees ap David def[endan]t at the sute of George Cruff' ap d'd ap me'dd & Ellin his weif paid to the said Ellin for her waige at such tymes as she the said Ellin served the said def[endan]t as his servant mayed as following

  • The first money that the said Ellin hadd of the said def[endan]t to buy unto her some thing by her sister Jane          vjd.
  • Item paid for dieinge of wolle for her .            iiijs.
  • #The same wole she hadd of the def[endan]ts owne woll & he sought nothinge for hit
  • Item paid for shooes to the said Ellin          ijs.
  • Item the def[endan]t paid for the said pl't' Ellin to Agnes vch leu'n wch the said Agnes hadd lente to the said Ellin    iiijd
  • Item paid for fyne Cloth to her         iijs.
  • #Item shee hadd a yarde of white kersie of wch was the def[endan]ts his owne kersie
  • Item for dyeinge of the same kersie in pwyck             iiijd.
  • Item for a girdell for her .             iijd.
  • Item wollen hoase for her             ixd.
  • Item for another pairs of shooes for her             ijs.
  • Item for a paire of gloves for her             iijd.
  • Item for a body of a petticoate for her             iiijd.
  • Item for mendinge of her petticoat                 ijd.
  • Item for a ffealt hat for her             viijs.
  • Item for three yards of lynnen cloth to make her a Smock             iijs. vjd.
  • Item paid for an appron for her             xvjd.
  • Item for a body of petticoate to her         iiijd.
  • Item for mendinge of another petticoat for her.              ijd.
  • Item for the Sowinge of a Smock for her & for a Snwde for her .             iiijd.
  • Item for a yarde of Clothe to her             xvjd.
  • Item for another paire of shooes for her             xvijd.
  • Item another paire of knitte noose for her             xd.
  • Item for lynnen Cloth to mende her Smock .             iiijd.
  • Item for knitting of a pairs of wollen hose for her          iiijd.
  • Item for a yarde of Cloth to make her a kerchif .         xijd.
  • Item for half a yarde of lynnen Cloth to make her a partlett .         xd.
  • Item for half a yarde of lynnen to make her a Ruffe             ijs.
  • Item for a paire of gloves             iijd.
  • Item for wheat of Elizabeth vch Ieu'n wch was sould to the said Elizabeth & the pl't' Ellin hadd the money        iiijs. xd.
  • Item the said Ellin Received of Moris her brother in lawe money for Barly wch was sould the said moris         ijs. vjd.
  • Item for wolle to make her two petticoats               iijs. vjd.
  • Item for the makinge of those petticoats                 iiijd.
  • Item shooes to her .            xvjd.
  • Item paied for redd cloth to her .               vjs.
  • Item for ffringe to the same petticoate .           xijd.
  • Item for a yarde of seckloth to make her a body for the same petticoat          viijd.
  • Item for fower yards of lynnen cloth for her .              iijs. viijd
  • #Item a Smock of the def[endan]ts owne cloth .   
  • #Item an appron of the def[endan]ts his owne wollen cloth
  • #Item a paire of wollen hoose of the def[endan]ts owne yarne
  • Item half a yarde of lynnen Cloth to make her a Ruffe           xd.
  • Item a yarde of Cloth to make her a partlett wth thothare half a yarde above spe'ied & to make her to cappes or litle kerchefs
  • Item for the makinge therof for R'b't ap Hugh lloyd his daughter            xijd.
  • #Item two paire of shooes wch were made in the house & gevin her
  • #Item two Smock for her of the def[endan]ts owne Cloth
  • Item two paire of hose for her of the def[endan]ts owne Cloth   .
  • Item in readie money paied in p'sens of Rees ap Ieu'n ap ho'll          liijs. iiijd
  • #Item anapparn [sic] of the def[endan]ts his owne Cloth . 
  • Item two Cherkins of the def[endan]ts owne flan'en
  • Item for a girdell of silke for her .           xviijd.
  • Item for a paire of gloves for her             iijd.
  • Item half a yarde of lynnen for her .            vjd.
  • Item a yarde of lynnen to make her two kerchefs             xvjd.
  • Item a paire of gloves for her              iijd.
  • #Item two apprans made at onest of the same cloth as the def[endan]ts owne coat was
  • Item three yards dymie of lynnen to make her a Smock             iijs. vjd.
  • Item another paire of shooes for her .             xviijd.
  • Item a paire of hose of fyne kersie             xiiijd .
  • Item a yarde of whome made kersie             ijs. iiijd.
  • Item for the dyeinge of the said kersie .            iiijd.
  • Item for knittinge of a paire of hose for her .             iiijd.
  • Item gave her to pay for redd Cloth wch came to her from her brother John             vjs. ijd.
  • Item paid for the makinge of the same Cloth in a petticoate for her .             ijd.
  • Item for fringe to the same Coate .             xd.
  • Item paid Res ap Ieu'n ap Rees his wief for three yards of lynnen Cloth for her             iijs.vjd.
  • Item for anappron of blacke Cloth for her             xvd.
  • Item for cloth to be putt to a partlet for her             iijd.
  • Item for Shoes & a Snode for her             xxjd.
  • Item for a fealt hatte for her             iijs. vjd.
  • Item for Cloth to mende her partlett .             iijd.
  • for wolle to make her a petticoat
  • Item to the fuller for ffullinge of the same petticoate wch was made for her         iiijd.
  • Item for anappran and stringes to the same appran           xixd.
  • Item for dyeinge of Cloth for her               xviijd.
  • Item the same appran wch was died was the def[endan]ts owne cloth
  • Item for lynnen Cloth to make her kercheif               xviijd.
  • Item for gloves for her                iijd
  • Item wolle to make her a Chirkin .              xiiij.
  • Item for the makinge of the said chirkin & for the makinge of a paire of hose for her         ijd
  • Item for a yarde of lynnen cloth for her of Richard pedler              iijs.
  • #Item anappran of Cloth whereof the def[endan]ts owne Coat was made
  • #Item two white petticoats and two Chirkins of flan'en made unto her at one tyme by Will'm Gruff' ap John Tailor of the def[endan]ts owne cloth
  • Item a womans coate for her of Redd cloth of the def[endan]ts owne cloth
  • Item for fringe for the sank coate .             xxijd.
  • Item for the makinge of the said three woomens coats for her & those two chirkins to Wm Gruff' the tailor
  • Item another yarde of lynnen cloth for her .             xviijd.
  • Item for a yarde of fynne lynnen cloth wch Ieu'n Lloyd boughte in Loudl                iijs.
  • Item for lynnen cloth to putt to their Ruffes wch were made to her of the said fynne Cloth    xijd

1.  [Ludlow. See Welsh list].



  • cwrsi=kerchief.
  • snoden=fillet, lace, hair-band.
  • barckloth [cf. barclod]=apron.
  • kersi=Kersey, a kind of coarse narrow cloth, woven from long wool, and usually ribbed. N.E.D
  • crys=smock.
  • partlet[t]= 'An article of apparel worn about the neck and upper part of the chest, chiefly by women ; originally a neckerchief of linen or the like ; a collar or ruff; also a kind of habit-shirt.' N.E.D.
  • pvwck=Bodfan gives piwc=funeral pall [Carm.].  possibly the colour 'puce.'
  • svrkvn=syrcyn=jerkin or singlet.
  • medlai=motley.
  • dymie=demi=half. N.E.D.
  • seckcloth=sackcloth=a material for ladies' dresses. N.E.D.

Facing page 78 in the journal is a photograph of the first Welsh page of the original lists of payments from NLW MS 12,450